Over the last three weeks we have looked at the faith of Abraham, Job and Joseph and there are more we could delve into simply by looking at Hebrews eleven, though just these three are plenty. Just to recap, with Abraham we saw that he had faith against all hope and Romans 4:20 “he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” We saw that Job persevered when all was taken away from him and he refused to turn against God. James 5:11 “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Joseph showed us that that God is sovereign and even though I am talking about Joseph, Job said Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Psalm 33:11 “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Joseph said to his brothers Genesis 45:4 “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Paul said Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” John said about the miracles of Jesus John 20:30 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Not only is the power of God right before our eyes, scripture tells us that God’s presence and power was to be present in our day also, as God does not change. The question is do you believe or not?
So what happens if we do not believe what is written so very plainly in scripture. Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.” The answer is God will be angry as Zechariah said Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 12 They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.” John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” To believe means to follow God’s words wholeheartedly. Unbelief is simply rejecting God’s words and replacing His words with our own. This means there is no fear of God. This also happens when we downgrade the words of truth to a book that was written by humans and not God. One of the gravest dangers in the church has been reading the bible as a storybook depicting events of long ago. The bible has basically become mythology (a collection of myths, especially one belonging to a particular religious or cultural tradition). Many people only want to hear the parts they like or agree with. They say tell me the old, old stories of long ago that make me feel good about myself but don’t tell me the parts that offend me. Due to a lack of knowledge and understanding, these stories come across as irrelevant for today. You even hear people say the bible is not applicable for today, so they set it aside, replacing the words of truth for reason, experiences and tradition. They read about Jesus and think that was then and not possible for today, nor is there any desire for God to move in power. One of the things I disliked about seminary was the slicing and dicing of the bible in an effort to study the bible. They taught that by following this process you could discern what God was saying and then you end up having a bunch of people with lots of head knowledge but no power, all thinking they were hearing what God had to say. Peter said 2 Peter 1:19 “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Deuteronomy 32:47 “They are not just idle words for you—they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Therefore, if the bible is written by God’s spirit, then it must be understood that way also, through the Spirit of God. One professor told me he disagreed with that and said if you were stupid before you became a Christian, you are stupid after. That was ridiculous! Basically I think he thought it was all about intellect, even though we see Jesus say, John 5:36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Jesus even told us John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” You can read all you want but if you do not believe all that is written, you will be condemned.
Isaiah tells us Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” He then said 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” The bible does not return empty as you are accountable for what you hear. It doesn’t mean that if you hear God’s word you are automatically safe and secure. If you hear and do not listen and repent, God’s wrath will remain on you. John 3:18 “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” Reading the bible but not doing what it says will cause you to miss out on eternal life. James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Jesus said Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” He also said, Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Many people read the bible but simply ignore much of what is written as they just don’t believe what they read is possible for today. Reading the bible and not believing what it says will also cause you to miss out on eternal life. What is the point of reading the bible if you are not going to believe what it says? John 8:31 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Paul said 1 Corinthians 15:2 “By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” The gospel is not empty words but power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.”
It is important to understand the difference between Christianity and religion. Jesus said John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Christianity is not just one of the religions, it is the only way. Deuteronomy 4:39 “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” During these last few months, we have seen a lot of religion disguised as Christianity. These days it is hard to ignore the political tsunami that is happening in the United States and even here in Canada. Democracy is literally imploding before our very eyes though the good news of the gospel doesn’t depend on democracy working. Before I go on it is important to understand that the United States is not a Christian nation nor is Canada. If you have been following the January 6 hearings, you will see some very clear evidence against Trump and his entourage. Even without all this very poignant evidence, you could tell basically everything Trump and his minions said was manipulation for personal gain, not for the minions and not the good of the people but for Trump himself. Then you have most of the Republicans who have continued in Trump’s lies. What is so disturbing about this is the number of christians who support Trump and his lies. You even have the nonsense of christian nationalism, which is not Christian at all. What I find amazing is that many in the States they actually think their precious constitution is on the side of the church when in reality it is not. The first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” It is the same here in Canada. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states in Fundamental freedoms that – 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion” That means all religions. During the January 6th hearing one of the witnesses, Russell "Rusty" Bowers, the Republican speaker of the Arizona House, nearly came to tears talking about his oath to God and the constitution, yet this same person has said he would still vote for Trump even after all that he had been through caused by Trump. He talked about the constitution as if it were sent to us by God and divinely written as if it were the bible.
Notice that both statements, the Constitution and the Charter say religion, not Christianity. This poses a huge problem as Christianity is not a religion but the only way, truth and life. Thomas Jefferson had some influence on the writing of the Constitution and wanted freedom of religion included. But again, religion doesn’t mean Christianity. Thomas Jefferson actually made his own bible. I had a teacher in college who said you could make the bible say whatever you wanted with scissors and paste (I guess that would be cut and paste nowadays) Jefferson literally cut up bibles and created his own bible. One person said, “In this book, he kept the words of Jesus, and some of his deeds, but left out the miracles, and any suggestion that Jesus is God. The virgin birth is gone. So is Jesus walking on water, multiplying the loaves and fishes, and raising Lazarus from the dead. Jefferson’s version ends with Jesus’ burial on Good Friday. There is no resurrection, no Easter Sunday. Jefferson called this version “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.” The bible ceases to be the bible when the supernatural is taken out. Most people would be shocked by this, but everyday most Christians do the same as they don’t really believe all the supernatural aspects of the bible because it is just a book of stories to them. When I say they don’t believe, what I mean is they may not go as far as Jefferson but believe the signs and wonders of Jesus, they just don’t believe they are possible today. They only believe they were possible when Jesus walked the earth and for a few disciples. Jefferson had the audacity to actually mutilate the bible to suit his own personal beliefs but today most just mutilate the bible through unbelief even the bible itself remains intact.
So, in reality the religion of the Constitution or Charter is not the Christianity of the bible. Recently the Supreme Court said a coach could pray. “The Supreme Court said Monday that a Washington state school district violated the First Amendment rights of a high school football coach when he lost his job after praying at the 50-yard line after games. The opinion was 6-3 along conservative-liberal ideological lines. The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike," Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion.” The problem is the constitution makes room for all religions as we saw earlier from Buddhism to Atheism. Stephen Colbert made jest of this when he talked about the satan worshippers being able to do the same thing. He does make a valid point. He said, “If the Court believes this type of Christian ritual is good for public schools, then I’m sure it will go well with any religion that goes to college. I can’t wait for the satanic cheerleaders: ‘devil! Come on team, let’s burn in hell! Saaaa sacrifice a goat! ‘” That is extreme, but the religion of the constitution and the charter opens the door for anything. Another comedian talked about the rising number of “nones”, that is those who don’t profess anything and that number is growing. He said they will need a say also. Pew research said, "When we ask people about their religious identification: Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, something else or nothing in particular – the religious "nones" are those people who answer that question by describing themselves as Atheist, Agnostic, or 'nothing in particular'," Again, religion is not Christianity.
I have seen several interviews with people who refuse to believe the 2020 election was a fair and accurate summation of the people’s will. One writer said, “President Donald Trump spent much of the 2020 presidential campaign insisting that he could only lose if the election was rigged against him, and he has spent nearly every day since his defeat claiming his dire predictions of fraud had come to pass. Despite assurances from his own departments of Justice and Homeland Security that no serious fraud occurred, Trump has raged against the election result and mounted a relentless campaign to reverse President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win.” It is astounding how many republicans have bought into this lie. Most of the leaders are playing along because they know that there are large amounts of voters who will vote for them if they continue saying the election was stolen. When interviewed, many of these people say they want the truth to come out. Meanwhile, staggering amounts of truth have come out in this January 6th hearing. Even after 60 plus failed court cases, there is no evidence that any of this is true yet they say they want truth. Many will not even watch the hearings and when they are shown evidence, they refuse to believe it. The only evidence they want to hear is the election is stolen and will continue to believe without even a hint of proof. The church has done the same. If only there was truth somewhere that would show us the way, meanwhile they ignore the truth as found in scripture.
So what does all this have to do with little faith. Unfortunately most in the church does not really believe the bible, even though they say they do. Most who go to church are religious and will put more faith in the constitution or charter, or what their hands can accomplish than they do the bible. They put more faith in their reasoning, their experiences and traditions than they do scripture. Making a spectacle about prayer and then going to court about it is absurd. Again, God is not about sports or politics. I liked the movie Facing the Giants but of course they would win the title twice as God is really into football. Over and over I hear politicians talking about Jesus as they continue to support a stolen election. It really is disgusting when these protestors, athletes and politicians invoke the name of Jesus as if God is right there with them in all their lies. It appears that Christianity is moving forward in the United States and making great gains. It is even making headlines. The Washington post said, “The Supreme Court is empowering Christianity as the United States becomes less religious.” That statement really does sum this up. The problem is this is not Christianity as described in the bible, it is American Christianity which is not the gospel of Jesus Christ but satan masquerading as an angel of light. Like Jefferson, only the parts that are acceptable to certain doctrines are kept and the rest are set aside.
So if you have been watching any news, you may think God is on the move, but He is not, at least in the way you might think because what you are seeing does not line up with scripture. When God moves you will see a distinct difference to what you are seeing now and there will be power; power to heal and to cast out demons. It is interesting that people are considered to have great faith as long as the supernatural is not part of the equation but it doesn’t take long to find out what people believe when it comes to the supernatural. As we have looked at faith, you must decide what kind of faith you have. Do you have little faith because you really don’t believe what the bible says, or do you have little faith because you do believe what the bible states. Jesus makes it clear that it doesn’t take much faith as long as it is the right kind of faith, which is a faith in God’s power, not man’s and the belief that His power is available today. Jesus said it this way. Matthew 17:14 “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” 17 “You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Having this kind of faith means you believe what Jesus says and not what man says (empty ways) about what Jesus said. It means you believe all the miracles, signs and wonders of Jesus and you believe they are possible for today. Mark 11:22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” As we saw above Jesus said Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Having little faith starts here. You have to believe that God could actually move the mountain and not just symbolically. If you don’t believe that you will struggle with the rest. Like Jefferson most have cut out the supernatural parts and built their faith on what they felt comfortable with or what they could explain. If you turn back a chapter to Matthew 16 you can see where many in the church have failed when it comes to faith in the power of God. Matthew 16:1 “The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.” For many in the church they read this and then think they should not expect to see the power of God because they think that would be wicked.” Then in the very next paragraph Jesus is talking about the Pharisees and said “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Now the disciples are still a little daft and thought Jesus was talking about their failure to bring bread. “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” Jesus then said to them “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Even after Jesus rose from the dead He admonished them for their lack of faith. Mark 16:14 “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” Jesus pointing out their lack of faith stemmed from the loaves and the fishes miracles. That’s not the little faith you want to have.
How soon they forgot what the power of God could do. Jesus had even said when feeding the five thousand Matthew 14:16 “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” After saying you of little faith, Jesus said, Matthew 16:9 “Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls (12) you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls (7) you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Obviously, bread wasn’t the issue. Did the disciples really think getting bread would be a problem after all the leftovers of those two miracles? Today’s church would still be rebuked by Jesus for little faith, but in the wrong way. In fact the church would be rebuked for not actually believing the miracles are possible because their faith is about what can be seen and what their hands can make. When you look at all the gurus the church follows, it is not the power of God they are following but they follow what hands have made hoping to do the same. Instead of following man, the church should be following Jesus and doing as He did. When Jesus said that He was the way, the chapter started off with John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” The Jesus also said in this same chapter 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it,” but most in the church does not actually believe God dwelling in us (John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.) actually means power will be available to all who believe.
The faith today is the wrong “little faith” as most do not believe these miracles are still possible for today even though Paul said Ephesians 1:18 “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” For many they think that miracles, signs and wonders are only sought by the wicked but that is just not the case. Jesus was pointing out those who are trying to test Him and making a mockery of His power were the wicked ones. Believing God can and will move in power is not wicked. When Jesus hung on the cross Matthew 27:39 “Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” We are actually told to seek the gifts of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.” 1 Corinthians 12:8 “To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” The disciples even prayed Acts 4:29 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Whenever you hear preaching that says otherwise (cessationism), you know you are sitting under the teaching of a false teacher.
The church has been greatly deceived in the area of faith. Many who are considered faithful are not when it comes to true faith. They don’t even have little faith because they only believe in what they can see and what their hands can make. Most have been deceived by accepting a bible that looks similar to Jefferson’s detestable version of the bible. Most say it is detestable to cut up the sacred bible but they do the same even though they have not actually mutilated their bible. Some won’t even write in the bibles, yet they do not believe what the bible states. They distort the bible by not believing the power of God is possible for today as taught by many false teachers. Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.”
When Jesus was in His hometown Mark 6:4 “He said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith.” As scripture tells us, when we believe God at His word, it takes only a little faith but when we do not believe, having little faith will have eternal consequences. As Paul warned the Jews, we too need to be warned. Acts 13:40 “Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: 41 “‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.” The religion we see today is not the Christianity of the gospel. No, the conservatives are not the good guys as so many Christians have come to believe. It is time to return to the true gospel and when the true gospel is preached, power follows. It is not the government we need to be turning to, it is Jesus. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” When the good news is preached there will be power. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus showed us what His workers would do and what the available power would look like. Will you be one of His workers with little faith and go to the ends of the earth clothed with power from on High, or will you work in your own strength with little faith because you don’t believe all that was written? Deuteronomy 30:19 “This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”